Australia is a large island continent occupying a total land-mass of almost 8 million square kilometres, approximately thirty times the area of the British Isles. Its population is around 18 million, 80 per cent of whom live on narrow coastal strips covering less than 4 per cent of the total land area: it has, therefore, a high level of urbanisation (Boss et al. 1995:2). The rural population is considerably scattered, although very few people live in the large arid ‘heart’ of the continent. The indigenous Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people constitute about 1.6 per cent of the total population. Immigration has accounted for one-quarter of Australia’s population growth since 1913. The vast majority of immigrants have settled in the larger cities rather than in rural areas.